The historic business deal that initiated the era of oil in the Middle East

[D'Arcy, William Knox]. Typescript draft of the D'Arcy Concession.

Tehran, May 1901.

Folio (210 x 330 mm). 5 pp. on 5 ff.


French draft of the historic business deal between Britain and Persia that would initiate the era of oil in the Middle East.

The chain of events leading to Persia entering the international oil scene began with Antoine Ketabci Khan, the Persian commissioner general at the Paris Exhibition of 1900. Ketabci Khan, of Armenian descent, had held several posts in the Persian government, including the directorship of the customs service. Although the ostensible reason for Ketabci’s visit was the opening of the Paris Exhibition, his main purpose was to find an investor in Europe willing to take up the petroleum concession in Persia. In Paris, Ketabci sought the aid of Sir Henry Drummond Wolff, formerly (1887-90) the British minister in Tehran, who suggested William Knox D’Arcy, an English entrepreneur and financier who had made a fortune in gold mining in Australia and was eager to examine the proposition. On 28 May 1901 the prodigal Mozaffar-al-Din Shah granted D’Arcy an oil concession valid for sixty years, with exclusive rights to oil exploration in the entire country apart from the five northern provinces of Azerbaijan, Gilan, Mazandaran, Astarabad, and Khorasan. These provinces were excluded to avoid offending Russia, which regarded the northern part of Persia as its own sphere of influence, in the same way that Britain saw southern Persia as falling in its own orbit. In return, D’Arcy agreed to pay the Persian government twenty thousand pounds in cash, with another twenty thousand pounds worth of shares, as well as an annual royalty which was defined somewhat vaguely as equal to 16 percent of “annual net profits”.

Small rust stains to first leaf; slightly creased.

Art.-Nr.: BN#57179 Schlagwörter: , ,